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Hoosiers hire ex-UMass coach as new offensive coordinator

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Former UMass head coach Walt Bell was hired Thursday as Indiana's new offensive coordinator.

The 37-year-old Bell was fired after nine games last season, finishing his tenure at UMass with a 2-23 record over three seasons.

Bell replaces Nick Sheridan, who was fired one day after the Hoosiers completed their season with a 2-10 mark and their first winless season in Big Ten play since 2011. They opened the season ranked No. 17 in The Associated Press poll.

"I'm incredibly excited to work for a man like Tom Allen" Bell said. "Everyone I've talked with has raved about Indiana, and I'm ready to start building relationships with our players and working with this staff. I'm really looking forward to coaching in the Big Ten again and can't wait to get started."

The announcement caps a busy couple of weeks for Allen and his program. Starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has entered the transfer portal and the Hoosiers are adding linebacker Bradley Jennings Jr., receiver Emery Simmons and defensive linemen LeDarrius Cox and Patrick Lucas - all transfers.

The biggest question is at quarterback with Penix apparently on the move. Bell will be working closely with that group after being assigned quarterback coaching duties.

Bell also spent one season at Florida State, two seasons at Maryland and two seasons at Arkansas State as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at each stop. He's also coached at North Carolina, Southern Mississippi, Oklahoma State and Memphis. He played receiver at Middle Tennessee State, where he earned two degrees.

"Walt checked all the boxes that we were looking for," Allen said. "His experience, creativity, and leadership make him an ideal fit. I was looking for someone to be the leader of the offense and Walt will be that."

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Updated December 9, 2021

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